Retrospective: These events that marked the year 2022 in West Africa

Retrospective: These events that marked the year 2022 in West Africa

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French Colonel Faivre hands over the symbolic key to Camp Barkhane to the Malian Colonel during the ceremony to hand over the Barkhane military base to the Malian army in Timbuktu, December 14, 2021.

In this series of the show Au Coeur de l’Actu, the BBC looks back on some of the key events of 2022 in West Africa. In this issue, the two coups in Burkina Faso at the initiative of Accra, through the diplomatic imbroglio around the 49 Ivorian soldiers arrested in Mali.

Today, we are interested in the news in the Sahel and in some West African countries.

Burkina Faso has risen to the forefront of the international scene with the two coups d’etat experienced by the country in 2022.

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Boot noises in Burkina Faso

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This capture from a video broadcast on October 2, 2022 by Burkina Faso’s national television shows Captain Kiswendsida Farouk Azaria Sorgho (C), a member of the junta, reading a statement next to coup leader Ibrahim Traoré (G ) and surrounded by members of the army who claim to take power on September 30, 2022 in Ouagadougou.

Indeed, it all started in January when the Patriotic Movement for Safeguarding and Restoration (MPSR) led by Lieutenant-Colonel Paul-Henri Damiba announced that it had overthrown the democratically elected regime of President Roch Kaboré.

Captain Sitsoré Kader Ouédraogo speaks on behalf of this movement.

“The Movement, which brings together all the components of the Defense and Security Forces, has thus decided to put an end to the power of Mr. Roch Marc Christian Kaboré on January 24, 2022. A decision taken for the sole purpose of allowing our country to recover on the right path and to gather all its forces in order to fight for its territorial integrity, recovery and sovereignty.”

Eight months later, on September 30, 2022 to be precise, a second coup d’etat took place in Burkina Faso. It is led by captain Ibrahim Traoré.

According to a report by our correspondent Simon Gongo, it was around 8 p.m. that a group of soldiers appeared on public television to announce the dismissal of President Damiba at the head of the Burkinabe transition launched on January 25. .

“Lieutenant-Colonel Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba has been removed from his post as president of the MPSR. Captain Traoré Ibrahim has been appointed president of the MPSR as of today,” an army spokesman said.

Captain Ibrahim Traoré is the very man who led the operations that overthrew President Roch Marc Kaboré and brought Colonel Damiba to the head of the MPSR.

Diplomatic quarrel between Bamako and Abidjan

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Ivorian soldiers take part in the inauguration of the International Counter-Terrorism Academy (AILCT) in Jacqueville, Côte d’Ivoire on June 10, 2021. (Illustration)

On July 10, 2022, 49 soldiers were arrested upon arrival at Bamako airport.

The Ivorian authorities claim that these Ivorian soldiers had gone to Mali in support of the Ivorian contingent of MINUSMA, the UN mission in the country.

This is the start of a diplomatic quarrel between Côte d’Ivoire and Mali.

“Thanks to the professionalism of the Malian defense and security forces, it has been established that the 49 Ivorian soldiers were illegally on the national territory of Mali. Consequently, they were immediately arrested, their weapons, ammunition and equipment were seized. “, explains the spokesman of the Malian government, Colonel Abdoulaye Maiga.

Speaking on this in August 2022, Ivorian President Alassane Ouattara was rather optimistic about a successful outcome to this incident.

“Things are progressing well. I had a visit yesterday from President Faure Gnassingbé, as you know, who is the facilitator, mediator to inform me of the progress of things. We think that, very quickly, we will undoubtedly have , a happy outcome.

In September, the Togolese mediation succeeded in obtaining the release of the 3 women who were among the 49 Ivorian soldiers. The others remain in detention.

Accra Initiative Commits Against Terrorism

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Another subject that caught our attention for the year 2022 is the meeting of the member countries of the Accra initiative, namely Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Burkina Faso, Togo and Benin. .

Two other countries participated as observers, Mali and Niger, as well as European leaders.

The jihadist threat, which extends from the Sahel to the coasts of the Gulf of Guinea, was the central concern of the meeting, as Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo pointed out.

“Our assessment indicates that the support of members of the international community will be needed but we remain firm in our commitment to assume more of the required responsibility, while engaging international partners who are prepared to respect our status as local initiatives. I have the hope and certainty that at the end of this conference, we will further strengthen our cooperation to support the Accra initiative to combat the spillover of terrorism from the Sahel region to Africa. West Coast. It is in our collective interest that we succeed in this regard.”

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Analysis by journalist Sidy Kaba,

Security Issues Specialist

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What can we learn from the news of 2022 in the Sahel and especially in the area of ​​the 3 borders?

It will undoubtedly be necessary incontestably to retain France’s decision to withdraw from Mali. A decision made in February.

And as we know, following this announcement on August 15, 2022, the last French soldier left Malian territory to cross to the Nigerien border.

What do you think of this reorganization of Barkhane?

First, in terms of its withdrawal, there were consequences because all the rights of way in Mali that were left by the Barkhane force were not fully reoccupied.

What has meant that this vacuum has benefited the Islamic state, mainly the Islamic state in the greater Sahara which has reorganized itself, which has become very active at the level of the three borders.

The second lesson is after the withdrawal of Mali, there is a change of paradigms. From now on, the French force will have bilateral cooperation with the different countries, Niger and Burkina.

And the second main lesson is the extension of the force beyond the Sahel to the countries of the Gulf of Guinea because the force will now accompany countries like Benin, like Togo and mainly Côte d’Ivoire which are countries in the Gulf of Guinea which are also today subject to the terrorist threat.

Does the Accra initiative take the jihadist threat to the coast seriously?

Yes ! She found it difficult to take it seriously because as we know, the Accra initiative was created in 2017 but it was only this year that she became really very active, that she started to take aware that the threat concerning the Sahel today concerns the countries of the Gulf of Guinea.

And this awareness, even if it is late, is very useful because the countries have decided to pool their resources in terms of intelligence, in terms of organizations, in terms of operations that will be carried out. And today, there is a rise in power of this Accra initiative which mainly brings together countries from the Gulf of Guinea.

And also a desire from the Accra initiative to get closer to the countries of the Sahel to learn from what has not worked in the Sahel. And then to better coordinate between the countries of the Sahel and the countries of the Accra initiative.

In my opinion, it can be an advantage, it can be beneficial if the countries of the Accra initiative and those of the Sahel come together to respond together to the jihadist threat because, as we know, now as the threat has become transnational , any effective response can only be transnational, involving both the countries of the Gulf of Guinea and the countries of the Sahel.

Trial of the events of September 28, 2009 in Conakry

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The trial of former Guinean dictator Moussa Dadis Camara and other former perpetrators of the September 28, 2009 stadium massacre opened on September 28, 2022 in the capital, Conakry.

Guinea is also in this retrospective of the year 2022 with the start in Conakry of the trial of the events of September 28, 2009.

This is the culmination of a long process, said for the occasion, Elyse Kepler, associate director of the international justice program at Human Rights Watch.

“Soon after the crimes, victims lobbied for justice for these crimes. Guinean authorities pledged early on to investigate and prosecute. it would open an investigation. Over the years, there have been advances in justice but also great challenges in moving this process forward,” said Ms. Kepler.

“At the beginning, the judges did not even have the basic resources to carry out their work and the victims who tried to give information to the judges faced security problems because they were in an office where the forces also operated. security,” she continued.

“But little by little, we have seen the judges show courage, collect the testimonies of the victims and little by little issue indictments for different defendants. Meanwhile, the International Criminal Court has continued to visit the country and assess progress which we believe has been a key factor in helping to move this process forward,” she concludes.